Crowdsourcing: Hanging Out with All the Right People

According to researchers at Penn State, crowdsourcing works best when the right type of crowd is matched up with particular types of crowdsourcing projects. But which crowd is right for your type of business? The paper offers a simple framework on how to match organizational needs with the “right” crowd.

The Penn State study, “Hanging with the right crowd: matching crowdsourcing need to crowd characteristics,” identified four areas in which crowds are commonly used to solve problems: marketing/branding, improving productivity; product/service innovation and knowledge capture.

The researchers also identified three characteristics of crowds that can be optimized for each type of business problem: the knowledge of the crowd (general or specialized, situational or domain specific; or about products/services), the value of the crowd (number of people in the crowd, diversity of the crowd or variety of what the crowd knows) and the location of the crowd (internal or external to the organization).

The authors conclude their paper by stressing that “gaining a better understanding of the link between organizational need and desired crowd characteristics” is key to the theoretical and practical application of crowdsourcing.

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